5.0056 Citation Statistics ... (Part II) (4/162)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 15 May 91 20:54:34 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0056. Wednesday, 15 May 1991.

(1) Date: 15 May 1991, 18:24:35 EST (24 lines)
Subject: Citor what's a dean to do?)

(2) Date: Wed, 15 May 91 11:55:00 CDT (66 lines)
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Re: 5.0047 Citations (more)

(3) Date: Wed, 15 May 91 09:21:17 CST (40 lines)
From: Oliver Phillips <PHILLIPS@UKANVM>
Subject: RE: Citation lists

(4) Date: Wed, 15 May 91 09:14:39 EDT (32 lines)
From: gto@scotty.neoucom.EDU (Thomas Osterfield)
Subject: Citation Lists

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 15 May 1991, 18:24:35 EST
Subject: Citor what's a dean to do?)

We used to have a dean whose previous employer had been the FBI who was
rumored to grant promotions on the grounds of citation indices. As
Willard and Adam Engst and others have pointed out, citation can mean
infamy, quantity is not quality, and almost no one cites the one they
love. In compiling major bibliographies about an author, for instance,
the compiler often forgets the author of the definitive biography;
familiarity breeds neglect. Ted Nelson's scheme of users paying for
quotations seems too simple and good to be true, but it would lead to
various perversions of the truth as well. "I wouldn't give that bugger
my nickle for anthing he wrote," we might say, as we avoid quoting the
author of a standard source who once gave our book a bad review. I knew
of one case in which the editor of a "variorum" edition did not once
cite the major book written about the work he was editing--out of spite,
I reckon. So now any sinister dean might use the citation index as
grounds for not following a department's recommendation that Instructor
X become Assistant Professor X, but he might also be seriously misled by
a notoriously stupid book that was often cited only to be refuted, or he
might be misled again by the neglect of a spiteful editor. Oh, what
happened to our dean? He's a college president now, and quite possibly
still reading citation indices. Roy Flannagan
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------71----
Date: Wed, 15 May 91 11:55:00 CDT
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Re: 5.0047 Citations (more) (3/75)

Re:Surely, the only measure that counts is the value, the carefulness,
the thoroughness, the innovation, the perceived methodological clarity
and the impact of work. And this may all take some time to make itself
felt. Larry Hurtado, Institute for the Humanities, Univ. of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Manitoba. R3T 2N2

My response is, and must be, to point out that many, perhaps even most
of our most "value"-able "innovations" are quite contradictory to many
of the other criteria used to describe "what counts:"

"The thoroughness/the carefulness/the perceived methodological clarity
and the impact of work" included.

Consider Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Feynman. Each must
be seriously considered as making their contributions in a manner much
different from that described by certain of the above characteristics.
Not just different, and not ~in spite of~ these characteristics, but a
major portion must be accounted for by the fact that these me ignored,
in a flagrant manner, some or all of these characteristics at the time
of their discoveries.

I love Feynman's description of how he split the quantum number, which
was previously thought of as "atomic" in the undivisable sense, in one
of the campus "food fights" in which he noticed that a blob of ketchup
on a plate flying over his head was rotating at half the rate the dish
was wobbling on its axis (or just the opposite) and thus conceived the
idea of one half unit of electron "spin."

("What Do You Care What Other People Think, Mr. Feynman?" and
"Adventures [and Further Adventures] of a Curious Character.")

You might also remember Prof. Feynman from the shuttle O-rings.

Enough for now. I hope I haven't offended tooo much.

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Thank you for your interest,

Michael S. Hart, Director, Project Gutenberg
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(3) --------------------------------------------------------------47----
Date: Wed, 15 May 91 09:21:17 CST
From: Oliver Phillips <PHILLIPS@UKANVM>
Subject: RE: Citation lists


Good news! there is just such a list, has been for a decade. My use
of it, however, inclines me to think that the 98% non-citation figure
for humanities is inaccurate. I have uploaded two screens from the
on-line library catalog here at the University of Kansas:

LOCATION: Watson Reference
CALL NUMBER: Ref. Z 5931 .A78

HOLDINGS: 1975/1979
1980 - 1988
HOLDINGS: 1989, 1st semiannual, vol. 1 - 1990, 1st semiannual, vol. 3

GENERAL NOTES: Composed of: Citation index ; Source index ; and, Permuterm
subject index.

TITLE: Arts & humanities citation index.
PUBLISHER: Philadelphia, Institute for Scientific Information.
SUBJECTS: 1) Periodicals--Indexes.
2) Humanities--Periodicals--Indexes.
3) Arts--Periodicals--Indexes.
OTHER ENTRIES: Institute for Scientific Information.
DESCRIPTION: v. 29 cm.
NOTES: Vols. for 1976- issued in 3 vols.: Citation index; Source
index; Corporate index; Permuterm subject index, and Guide
& journal lists.

Oliver Phillips
Classics, University of Kansas

(4) --------------------------------------------------------------45----
Date: Wed, 15 May 91 09:14:39 EDT
From: gto@scotty.neoucom.EDU (Thomas Osterfield)
Subject: Citation Lists

I don't particularly like citation lists and studies, and my
place of employment understandably does not spend huge amounts
of money on indexes (can these still be called indices?) on
subjects tangential to medicine. However, from my limited use
of the source and from minimal documentation, I believe that
the _Arts and Humanities Citation Index_ does indeed do a
thorough job of indexing citations in numerous "humanities"
fields. At least the "basic" journals in classics and
religious studies (the fields mentioned above) _are_ covered.
For institutions that don't find the levels of use adequate to
subscribe to the printed version, this index is available
online through several vendors as _Arts and Humanities
Search_. The publisher (ISI) is the same as for the social
science and most of the science citation indexes.

Did anyone think to check with a reference librarian about the
availability or non-availability of such an index?

Having said all that, I have no idea what sources were used
for the citation study referred to, and I'm not interested
enough to bother finding out.


G. Thomas Osterfield (216)325-2511 x531
Archives, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine
gto@scotty.neoucom.EDU 74106.1153@compuserve.com
uunet!aablue!neoucom!gto af192@cleveland.freenet.edu